Yet another week seems to have flown by in a frenzied flurry of furious activity here at Angry Robot’s Evil Lair. London Book Fair probably accounted for a big chunk of the general busy-ness, with Marco, Lee, Amanda and Emlyn all scouting for new meat-suit writing talent to conquer and assimilate. Back at HQ down in the in the deepest, dankest of our diverse dungeons, Darren has been accomplishing the re-vamp and re-launch of our webstore, in its new guise: The Robot Trading Company (he didn’t do the extremely smart and very shiny new logo, though – that was all Marco’s work).

Meanwhile, our authors – always a busy bunch – have been getting up to the usual array of online shenanigans. Here’s what we’ve spotted – or has been reported to us, scrawled in barely legible red ink (at least, we think it was ink) on the back of a tear-stained postcard – this week:

Evil Dark, by Justin GustainisOfficially published in just under a fortnight’s time (but available from next Tuesday if you’re on the North American side of the Atlantic, or in possession of an e-reader) Justin GustainisEvil Dark has seen much love (and rightly so) with reviews from Scott D. Parker at Criminal Element, who said: “I’ll admit that this kind of story is not usually my cup of tea, but Gustainis, with Markowski as a guide, truly sucked me into this unique world of fantastical creatures and police procedural. It’s a fun book, with lots of treats along the way to differentiate that world from ours.” Also Montoya of the Geek Syndicate: “Great writing, well paced, with twists and turns at every angle, it throws a spotlight on our own society, making you question your own choices in life.” And Terror-Tree, where blogger Theresa Derwin said: “Gustainis has proved himself time and time again, and it is no surprise to me that Evil Dark is another cracking novel.” And there’s a dual review, along with series-opener Hard Spell, by David Brzeski for the British Fantasy Society: “Gripping hardly covers it. I simply couldn’t put the book down until I’d finished it.” Quite right, too. Sleep? Food? Over-rated, we say, although you meat-suits seem inordinately fond of both of them for some reason.

Justin has also been interviewed by urban fantasy author Suzanne Johnson for her Preternatura blog. (This, by the way, is a must read piece, if only for Justin’s answer to the ‘Book You’ve Bought for the Cover’ question…)

Blackbirds, by Chuck WendigChuck Wendig‘s first AR novel, Blackbirds, is likewise out in a couple of weeks (or next Tuesday, depending) as well. Reviewer Paul Simpson loved it and said so in no uncertain terms over at SciFi Bulletin: “It’s a cliché in reviewing to say that you couldn’t put a book down, that you ended up reading all night because you couldn’t bear to leave the story … Blackbirds is one of the few I’ve come across in recent years.” At last, a meat-suit who’s got his lifestyle priorities right! There was another review at Talk Supe, where blogger Braine said: “[Wendig] doesn’t do filigreed words and leaves very little to the imagination. He paints the picture exactly the way he sees it, jacked up with all the emotions to give us readers one fantastic head trip.” And another from Tim at Dice + Food + Lodging, who stated in no uncertain terms: “This book is creepy as hell, and I loved it.” And Lou at More2Read said: “There’s plenty of dark humour, thrills and things you would want your kids to read about like foul language and sex. Bad assed characters, slick and original awesomeness!” Hey, we’re all about the slick and original awesomeness at Angry Robot. Everybody knows that.

Also: Chuck has been grilled about his l33t parenting skllz and writing and stuff at Coping With Sanity. Tune in for startling revelations, philosophical insight by the truck-load and a just a frisson of sheer, butt-naked terror (that’ll be the sotto voce undertone whenever Chuck talks about being a parent, which thankfully is something we Robotic Overlord types can happily delegate to our engineering corps).

The Alchemist of Souls by Anne LyleOn the subject of our recently-published titles, we have a new review of Anne Lyle‘s The Alchemist of Souls from Jessica at SciFi Fan Letter, who said: “If you like good fantasy or historical fantasy, pick this book up!”, to which we’d add “and then read it!” but maybe that’s just us? Anyhoo, Jessica has posted an interview with Anne as well, wherein they talk about writerly stuff. There’s another review at Adventures Fantastic, where blogger Keith explains that he thought the writing was fantastic and the historical research and scene-setting spot-on, but he just didn’t get on with the romantic elements. Which is fair enough, each to their own, etc.

David Tallerman‘s Giant Thief was reviewed by Ryan Lawler for Fantasy Book Review: “This book just reads effortlessly, the prose is simple enough to make the pace electric, but complex enough to convey all the stylings and emotions required to fully flesh out the story.” And by firebreathingmonsters: “I would definitely suggest this book for a bit of light, holiday reading – it certainly brightened a stressful week for me.” And by The Village Smith as well.

On the interview front, David has been talking to The Civilian Reader and was encouraged to spill the beans on writing, the publishing industry, the UK genre scene, conventions and his various other writing projects. Good stuff.

The Hammer and the Blade, by Paul S KempLooking a little further ahead, a rush of early reviews have come in for Paul S. Kemp‘s forthcoming Sword & Sorcery spectacular The Hammer and the Blade (July 2012) got the once-over from Jacob at Drying Ink, who said: “The Hammer and the Blade provides an enjoyable afternoon of reading (with more than a few twists to keep even long term readers’ predictive powers satisfied). A likeable duo, some inspired action – what more can you want from a sword and sorcery novel?” Graeme at Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review said: “When things heat up. Kemp gives us sequences that wouldn’t look out of place in an Indiana Jones film with the undead and vengeful wraiths only proving to be half of the fun. There is always something happening and that’s just what a ‘Sword & Sorcery’ novel needs to be all about. Kemp really delivers the goods on that score.” Meanwhile, Lightsaber Rattling tells us that the book is “a fast paced ride full of disturbing detail, gluttonous gore and fantastic fun”. And the eponymous Stefan, of, Stefan’s Bookself, said: “I was highly entertained by this book and look forward to reading more … I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it.” Looks like it’s shaping up to be this summer’s Sword & Sorcery blockbuster. Next stop: Hollywood? (Get your meat-suits to call our meat-suits. Let’s do lunch. Etcetera.)

Also forthcoming is Mike Shevdon‘s third Courts of the Feyre book, Strangeness and Charm (June 2012). N.E. White took a look for SFFWorld and said: “Mr. Shevdon continues to show his readers fresh insights about his characters and his wonderful imagination manifests in the fey magic mixes with human blood to create interesting fey-mongrels … If you have read the first two in this series, you won’t want to miss the third. Recommended!”

Finally, one from the archives of awesomeness, with a new review for an old AR favourite: Guy AdamsThe World House, examined by Jessica Strider for SF Signal: “In the end, The World House is quite different from other books out there. It’s imaginative and fun. And it will keep you on your toes.” Which is, of course, exactly where we want you…

Right, that’s your lot for this week. You can go back to whatever you were doing. Just be sure to report back for Round-Up reading duty again next week. Remember: monitor-bots are operating in your area and they will know if you’re not paying proper attention…